DFA files diplomatic protest vs. China over latest incursion in West PH Sea

Published March 21, 2021, 9:39 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest against China over reports of the alleged presence of about 220 of its militia vessels at Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef) which is within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Sunday night.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Diplomatic protest fired off tonight, can’t wait for first light,” Locsin said in a tweet.

Locsin made this announcement over social media after awaiting an order from National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who also chairs the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS).

“So recommended by General Esperon this noon by Whats App. I got the coordinates, so to speak. And relayed to my legal artillery, ‘Fire at will.’ Shell should be flying at first light. I don’t usually announce maneuvers but it seems everybody is baring his chest,” the foreign secretary said in another tweet. 

Earlier, the country’s top diplomat questioned the authority of the NTF-WPS for issuing a press release over the weekend where it expressed its concern over the latest Chinese intrusion in the Philippines’ EEZ. 

“The NTF does not issue press releases. It is a secret group. I’m the trigger and the gun. And I’ve never responded to press releases. The refuge of nobodies,” he said.